Fine Hair vs. Thin Hair

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When you first hear them, the terms “fine” and “thin” hair may sound interchangeable. Stylists and clients alike have a number of “go-to” terms to describe the spectrum of hair types and lengths they encounter. Still, knowing what these terms actually mean can help you best suggest an upkeep regimen for your clients (or tighten the screws on your own) and help dispel hair myths and misinformation. Here’s a quick guide for identifying the characteristic differences between fine and thin hair (because they are not inherently the same!) and helping your clients determine for themselves.

We’re really talking about Density…
For our purposes, hair is characterized in two ways: the thickness of the individual strands and how dense (closely packed together) each of the individual follicles are. When a client has thin hair, it technically means that they have fewer hair follicles packed close together. Terms like “sparse” or “low density” may be more technically accurate and better help describe what they actually mean in these cases. While styling a thin-haired client, you may notice that you see a lot more of their scalp (while working) than someone with thick hair. It is possible for clients with thin hair to also have fine hair, but the two aren’t necessarily related.

Individual Thickness
When a client has fine hair, they’re technically referring to the individual thickness or diameter of each strand. A visual spot test for fine hair is the strand comparison: if a client’s hair strand appears to be the same thickness as a sewing thread then they have coarse hair. If it appears to be thinner than this, or has “wispy” characteristics, then it is fine. Some suggest gathering the hair into a ponytail and measuring its circumference, fine hair being that which is less than 2 inches in circumference. Clients with fine hair may complain that the fineness of their hair makes it difficult to manage and style.

Can Clients have both Thin and Fine Hair?
It’s absolutely possible for clients to have a combination of hair that’s both thin and fine, and in these cases, gentle styling techniques and regular maintenance come highly encouraged. Particular attention should be paid towards braiding or styles which pull the hair away from the scalp as they may be harder on thin or fine-haired clients than those with medium or coarse hair. Babe offers a special Tape-In application alternative for thin and/or fine-haired clients seeking hair extensions, which involves using Single Sided Tape to lighten the overall load of the Tape-In hair extensions (more on that next week!).

To summarize: “Fine” hair refers to the thickness or diameter of the individual strand of hair. The opposite of fine hair is coarse hair. “Thin” hair refers to the overall density of the hair follicles across the scalp. The opposite of thin hair is thick hair. It is possible for clients to have fine and thick hair, or coarse and thin hair. On occasion, your client may have both fine and thick hair. These clients will benefit from the use of our Single Sided Tape method, or from alternative installation techniques designed to target thinning. For more information on the hair extension options available to thin and/or fine-haired clients, visit the Everything But Length Portal.

Helping clients determine how to categorize their hair is the first step towards solid hair health and maintenance on an individual and global level. Not only are you assisting their beauty transformation at the salon but empowering them with the knowledge and information they need to keep it up once they’re on their own.

 

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Simple Ways to Transform Your Business

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It’s the end of 2016. Regardless of how your resolutions for this year turned out, it’s never too late to set yourself up for a good start next year. Today, as our last blog before 2017, we’re going to list some simple things you can do to give your hair extension business a makeover for the new year (we already know that you’re really good at makeovers). So let’s get to it!

Redecorate.
This is a fairly straightforward one—transform your salon space by moving around the furniture, adding some seasonal decorative elements, or some business-specific marketing materials and displays. Not only will this revitalize the salon itself, it’ll also clue your clients in on all the services that you offer.

Update your inventory.
Depending on your inventory management style, you may be overdue for an inventory update. In 2016 alone, Babe introduced a number of new extension methods, colors, and tools, including our Instant Hair line, Flat-Tips, Fusion Cutters, Hair Organizers, Styrofoam Mannequin Heads, and several ombre shades. With all of the new additions, you may find that you’re missing a few revolutionary items in your salon.

Master a new method.
There’s no better way to boost your extension business than to introduce a whole new method to your arsenal. Our Online Education portal is more equipped than ever to teach you the ins and outs of our various extension methods, from I-Tip, Tape-In, and Fusion to Lash extensions. Enroll today for access to the training videos, including Babe certification (if you so choose). Certification in Babe extension methods puts you on our Certified Stylist list, so potential new clients can find you easily from our site. You’ll also be able to provide your clients with more service options.

Introduce Instant Hair services.
Speaking of more service options, Instant Hair extensions provide a load of opportunities to extend new services to your clients, including extension fitting, trimming, and coloring services. We even have an Instant Hair Rewards program to give you more returns for your investment. Learn more about how you can use Instant Hair to enhance your business by clicking here.

Introduce a customer rewards program.
Take a cue from the Instant Hair Rewards program and introduce your own rewards for your most loyal clients. Enable them to collect points for attending all of their recommended maintenance appointments, collecting all of their hair extension upkeep tools, or bringing a friend into the salon. The possibilities are endless.

Reboot your enthusiasm.
Motivation is the best indicator of success, so get back in the hair extension groove by treating yourself to some live Babe events. We offer trade show classes, Mastery Tour events, and even local-level courses with certain Babe distributors, all of which are guaranteed to increase your enthusiasm and improve your extension skills! Connect with fellow Babe stylists and learn in an engaging, fun environment. You can find our next destination right here.

Get a head start on your best extension year ever by following these tips, and let us know how it goes! You can share pictures and stories to any of our social media pages.

Until then, Happy Almost-New Year!

 

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The Wonders of Dry Spray Shampoo

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According to Babe hair extension best practices, clients should be washing their extensions no more than 2-3 times per week (or once a week for curly and wavy extension types). So what’s a client to do if they find their hair getting oily or tacky in-between washes? We have a solution for that: Babe Dry Spray Shampoo.

Our proprietary Dry Spray Shampoo is unique in that it is 100% extension-safe. It’s formulated with absolutely no sulfates for maximum hair health, and it includes minimal alcohol to prevent loss of moisture. Furthermore, unlike many other dry shampoos on the market, Babe Dry Spray Shampoo is not particularly powdery, and does not leave any noticeable residue on the hair. Instead, it leaves behind a light and pleasant vanilla scent that will keep your hair smelling as good as it looks.

We recommend providing your client with an After Care Kit—which includes Babe Dry Spray Shampoo, a Hair Extension Brush, and an aftercare card—following their installation to ensure that they have the tools to properly maintain their hair extensions. Instruct your client to hold the can of Dry Spray Shampoo 12 inches or so away from their hair, and to spray the formula evenly over the scalp area of their head for no more than a couple of seconds. They should then massage the product into their scalp with their fingers, allowing a few moments for it to take effect, then finally brush through their hair with the Hair Extension Brush.

This November-December, Babe is offering a special, limited edition version of our After Care Kit that includes a cute little carrying bag to hold all of the contents! Visit your local distributor by December 31st to check it out.

Got comments or questions? Leave them in the space below, and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

 

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How to Sell After Care to Your Clients

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Hair extension after care is a big deal. In a 2-month window (after the initial installation and before the next move-up appointment), roughly 99.9% of the hair extension process happens outside of the salon—because what’s a 2-hour installation to 1,462 hours of wear? That’s not to undermine the importance of that first hair extension experience; the sustainability of the hair extensions will depend in large part on the quality of the installation itself. But 2 months is a long time—enough to do a lot of good or a lot of harm. So how do you convey the importance of aftercare to your clients, and help them to follow through on it?

We’ve written some tidbits about this before. Check out “How to Make Sure Your Clients Are Taking Care of Their Extensions,” or “Demonstrating Proper Techniques to Your Clients.” This time, though, we’re going to make a more specific recommendation: the After Care Kit. Babe offers a simple, introductory after care product set—complete with a Hair Extension Brush, Dry Spray Shampoo, and a hair care instruction card—to initiate each and every client to the task of maintaining their hair extensions. We encourage stylists to carry this kit in their salons, and even to include it as part of the installation package for first-time extension wearers. With only a couple of items involved, the After Care Kit is the easiest access point to a world of varied and sometimes ornate hair care products, which can be overwhelming to new clients. This November-December, we’re even offering a limited edition version of the kit with a special (and chic!) carrying bag that’ll make the hair care process that much more appealing (visit your local distributor to check it out)!

When you’re showing this kit to a new hair extension client, be sure to mention the following:

Hair care is important even for your natural hair.
Let’s forget about the extensions for a minute and examine your ordinary hair care routine. At the very least, you shampoo, condition, and brush your hair with some regularity. You do this so you can keep your hair looking its best. It’s the same thing for hair extensions, but with a few extra rules.

Hair extensions require their own specific hair care.
Even if your natural hair does well with a common shampoo, a weekly condition, and minimal brushing, your hair extensions are a different story. They’re different from your natural hair, so they’ll need custom treatment. This usually involves scarce washing, frequent conditioning (always below the bonds), mindful product selection (NO sulfates!), and gentle, daily brushing with a hair extension-friendly brush.

You have the power to perfect or destroy your extensions.
The hair extension process doesn’t end when you step out of the salon—it proceeds throughout the duration of your hair extension wear. That’s anywhere from a couple of weeks to 3+ months, depending on your intentions. Needless to say, the after care portion of your hair extension experience easily overshadows the consultation and installation parts, so the damage you do (or prevent) during this period can make or break that initial work.

More than anything, let your client know that they are a key player in their hair extension process! You can do this from the very beginning by encouraging their input and participation during the consultation and installation phases. There’s nothing more beautiful than feeling empowered, and your client will glow a little bit brighter when she realizes that her head of hair is partially her own accomplishment. With resolve like that, there’s no doubt that the hair will stay looking great, too.

Got questions? Leave them in the comments below and we’ll get back to you ASAP!

 

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How to Master Tape-In Updos

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When it comes to styling hair extensions, Tape-In can be a little bit different than I-Tip or Fusion. That’s because, while I-Tip and Fusion extensions are strand-by-strand methods, Tape-In is a weft method, involving a wider piece of hair that lays flush to the head. The weft nature of Tape-In is what makes it so light and comfortable to wear, though it’s also responsible for adding a slight limitation on mobility—especially with up-do hairstyles. But that doesn’t need to be a problem. With a little bit of foresight and a couple of tricks, you can put those Tape-In locks into any shape or position your heart desires. Here’s how:

Ask in advance
During the consultation phase of your hair extension process, ask your client how they’d like to wear their hair while they’re using hair extensions. Get a sense of how your client typically wears their hair, how frequently they style it or change up their style, and figure out if they have any big events coming up that would call for a more specific ‘do. Not only will this give you the information you need for deciding on the best installation strategy (or even method), but it could also pave the way to a pre-scheduled styling appointment for said event.

Round out your parts
If your client likes to throw their hair into an up-do now and then, try taking making your parts a little rounder. Rather than draw a straight line through the hair, draw a slight “U” shape so the part looks like a smile, with the line extending upward toward the ears. That way, when the hair is pulled back, the Tape-In wefts will fold naturally in the direction of the ponytail.

Shimmy your strands
Let’s say your up-do calls for some difficult maneuvering. Rather than brush the extensions upward (which could flatten the hair and emphasize wayward wefts), pull the hair back so that it sits naturally, then gradually shimmy the bundle to your desired place. The Tape-In wefts will respond better to this gentle coaxing, and will therefore blend more easily into the hair. It helps if the style you’re re-creating is somewhat loose, though you can definitely coax the wefts into tauter styles, too (with some patience!).

Hack your styles
Sometimes your up-do can be re-configured to suit the Tape-In placement, rather than the other way around. Whether you’re working with a bridal up-do, a regal bun, or any performance hairstyle, most styles feature many variations that make the look more accessible to women with different hair situations. Try looking online for some inspiration, then let your creativity lead you!

Fill in
When all else fails, you can always use hair fillers—like bun fillers, braid headbands, or even Clip-In extensions—to fake the look that you’re trying to achieve. These tools can sit on top of any unruly or obvious Tape-In wefts, hiding them from view. You can even use these as a guide for the Tape-In extensions, wrapping the Tape-In hair over top so that they lay flat and even. No fuss, guaranteed!

Have you ever styled Tape-In hair into a difficult ‘do? Share your pictures by tagging us on Babe’s Instagram! We love to see your fabulous work!

 

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Demonstrating Proper Techniques to Your Clients

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Hair extensions are a specialty service. They involve tactics that go beyond the realm of a standard salon practice, and therefore require some additional education—for both stylist and client. While it may be simple to take control of your own hair extension education through Babe’s Online Education program and various events, it’s not as straightforward for your client, who may not even realize that there’s more to hair extension care than just brushing, washing, and drying. So how can you make sure that they get the info they need? Give it to them, and demonstrate. Demonstrating proper hair care empowers clients to make the right decisions with regard to their investment, and leaves less work for you to do later. Here are the bases to cover:

Brushing
Show your client what kind of brush is compatible with their hair extensions, then use it to start brushing through the client’s hair. Talk through the steps as you demonstrate them, pointing out how you begin from the bottom, working the brush through the ends of the hair in a downward motion to coax out knots, then gradually work your way up. Indicate that they should use one hand to hold the roots of the hair in order to reduce tugging at the bonds. Then invite them to try out the technique for themselves. Be sure to remind them that their hair will need to be brushed 1-3 times a day to distribute the oils from their scalp to their hair extensions.

Shampooing
Discuss product selection with your client, and be sure to emphasize that they should be avoiding sulfate ingredients at all costs. Make sure they understand that shampoo should be concentrated at the roots of the hair, since that’s where the dirt builds up. Demonstrate the best lathering technique for their hair extensions by passing your fingers through their dry hair. Advise them to wash their hair no more than twice a week, since over-shampooing can dry out their extensions.

Conditioning
While you can’t really demonstrate the conditioning process to your client without actually washing their hair, you can still address the topic and recreate the proper updo for deep-conditioning treatments. Make it very clear that conditioner should not be applied anywhere near extension bonds, but rather focused at the ends and mid-lengths of the hair. Advise your client to leave the conditioner in their hair for 5-10 minutes before rinsing, to wear their hair in a low bun while doing so (to avoid conditioner seeping into the bond area), and to follow-up with other moisturizing treatments throughout the week, always below the bonds. Again, all products used should be sulfate-free.

Drying
Show your client what a good microfiber towel looks and feels like, and explain why it’s a better choice for drying both hair and hair extensions. Show them how to safely wring the water out of their hair after a shower. Introduce them to a good heat protectant and explain where it should be applied, plus how it should be distributed throughout the hair prior to blow drying. Tell your client that, when possible, they should only blow dry the roots of their hair and leave the rest to air dry.

Styling
Share some heat-free styling techniques that your client can use in lieu of their curling wand or straightener. Reiterate the importance of heat protectant prior to any heat styling, and remind them that heat protectant should be left to set for a minute or so before styling.

Maintaining
There are several aspects of the maintenance process that should be highlighted. Firstly, the use of Dry Shampoo should be encouraged between washes to minimize both oiliness and shower frequency. Introduce your client to this product, demonstrate its use, and devise the best shower/Dry Shampoo schedule for them based on their hair type. Secondly, address sleeping arrangements, including the use of silk or satin pillowcases and headscarves to minimize friction during the night. Tie the client’s hair into an easy braid that they can recreate before sleeping, or tailor a sleeping style that will help them achieve their desired day look without the use of heating tools.

With these tips and an Aftercare Kit to go, your client will be well prepared for their new hair extension life. Don’t forget to snap a picture of them before they leave and share it with us on our Instagram page!

 

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How to Install on Curly-Haired Clients

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Curly hair and straight hair are pretty different, as are the tactics that we use to cut and style them. The same thing is true of curly and straight hair extension installations. Though the principles of the extension method you’re using will remain the same from one installation to another (I-Tip sections should look the same on a curly head and a straight head), the installation experience can vary greatly, and curly hair extension installations might even call for some extra steps. Here, we’ve compiled some tips to help you perfect those curly installations where the client’s curls start from the root of their hair, rather than farther down along the hair shaft.

A preliminary note:
We recommend that you install extensions that complement the hairstyle that your client wears on any given day. This may not necessarily correspond with their natural hair texture. If your naturally curly client straightens their hair every single day, you should pair them with straight hair extensions, and consider relaxing their hair 48-72 hours prior to their installation appointment. The same thing goes for straight-haired clients. If they are constantly curling their hair, ask them if they’d be open to a perm followed by curly hair extensions 2 or more days later. We want to give our clients the hair of their dreams, but we also want to discourage rampant heat tool use on hair extensions, when possible.

Tip #1: Always install on dry hair.
Unlike a haircut, an installation should never be performed on wet hair. You know that, we know that, everyone knows that—but it’s worth repeating, because sometimes instinct can get the better of us. If you are a stylist who automatically goes for the spritzer when there’s a curly-haired person in your seat, keep in mind that you’re performing an installation, not a haircut. The whole point of the hair extension process is to fuse, glue, or crimp the bond directly to the hair, and water, oil, dirt, or anything else standing in the way will compromise the hold. You can consider revisiting your spray bottle during the blending part of the installation, if needed.

Tip #2: Don’t straighten the hair.
Your next instinct might be to straighten the hair for an easy-to-manage canvas. This isn’t a complete no-no, just like conditioning the midshaft-to-ends of the hair for manageability is not a complete no-no. But, you’d have to straighten the hair without using a heat protectant, which is unadvisable. Furthermore, if you’re installing curly extensions onto the straightened hair, you’ll have to re-curl the hair at the end of the appointment to display the final look. That’s a lot of unnecessary damage being done to the innocent locks! If you absolutely can’t get by without a smooth and uniform canvas to work on, only straighten the hair around the roots—preferably no more than 2 inches.

Tip #3: Line up the extension curl with the natural curl.
One benefit of not straightening the hair (aside from avoiding all that damage) is that you’ll be able to place the curly extensions strategically within the natural curls. Your bond should be situated at the first loop or curl by the root of the hair, and the bend of the extension strand should line up with the bend of the natural hair by the bond. This will make for the most natural-looking, seamless installation.

Tip #4: Modify your blending technique to suit your client’s texture.
First things first: don’t use a razor or thinning shears on curly hair. The jagged lines produced by these tools will fray and feather the hair, resulting in a frizzy look. Instead, point cut the hair for smooth, natural-looking ends.

- When establishing length
Always err on the side of caution when cutting curly hair (be it natural hair or extension hair). Since the curl pattern causes the hair to shrink, cutting too much into the hair will reduce the final length by more than it would straight hair.

- When framing the face & connecting the layers
If your client doesn’t ever straighten their hair*, tackle this step by staggering the layers rather than blending them seamlessly together. Remember, curls don’t lay flat like a smooth and unified waterfall—they separate into distinct strands like a series of vines. So try working curl-by-curl to cut the appropriate number of steps into the hair for a natural look.

*Note: if the client does intend to straighten their hair on occasion, you may consider straightening the hair for this portion of the installation. Otherwise, gently comb the hair to unravel individual curls, then tug the hair section straight before cutting into it.

- When polishing and personalizing
Take your time! Address each curl individually, and make sure that there are no glaring gaps or “shelves” in the hair. Employ your best curly-haircut techniques!

Have you ever installed extensions in curly hair before? Share your expert tips in the comments below!

 

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What Does Hair Mean to You?

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For most people, hair isn’t just hair. It’s something significant and complex and rooted in many layers of personal and cultural meaning. As stylists, we should never underestimate the unique attachment a client may have with his or her hair, and we should always be as sensitive to our clients’ distinct needs as possible. In order to do that, we need to be informed! So here are some questions you can ask your client to start a more in-depth conversation about their #hair goals.

What do you like about your hair?
This question is practical in that it gives you some criteria for your performance as a stylist. If there’s something that a client likes about their hair, you’ll want to play that up in the final look! But, beyond that, this question can give you some insight into how your client values their hair. Oftentimes, they’ll see their hair as an extension or symbol of their identity, since we all like to express ourselves through our physical appearance. Some people will feel more attached to their hair than others, so pay attention to the tone that they use when answering this question.

When does your hair look its best?
Again, this question gives you a clear view of your end goal. You want to recreate, or even improve upon, your client’s best hair scenario, so it helps to find out what that entails. Interestingly though, while some clients will answer in hair-specific terms, like “My hair looks best when it’s not-frizzy, and when the waves at the bottom move in the same direction,” some people will answer this question in a more situational way, as in, “My hair looks best after a day at the beach,” or, “My hair looks best when I’ve just woken up.” That doesn’t really give you a specific description of the hair itself so much as an image of when your client feels most confident about their hair, which may suggest that the client’s relationship with their hair is more symbolic than technical.

What are some problems you usually face with your hair?
Take a look into the darker side of your client’s relationship with their hair. What qualities do they dislike about their hair, or in what ways do they struggle to keep it under control? In addition to giving you clear guidelines for your performance (as in, avoid haircuts or products that exacerbate such and such problem), this question can hint at the emotional turmoil a client may experience with their hair. Perhaps your client suffers from post-chemotherapy hair thinness, or struggles with trichotillomania. Their hair struggles are not just hair struggles, but psychological and emotional ones that are often expressed through the hair. As such, you’ll need to treat these clients with particular care.

What was the worst situation your hair has been in?
As with the last question, this one can be telling for people with unique hair-related struggles. How does your client classify their worst hair experience? Was it a bad color job just before a big event? A haircut gone wrong after a big breakup? Some clients might even get emotional over this question, especially if they experienced something traumatic relating to their hair or body, so it’s best not to demand an answer. But take note of how they react to get a better sense of the value of their hair.

What or who does your hair remind you of?
Hair isn’t just about personal identity. It can be a family trait, a marker of group identity, and provide the client with a feeling of comfort or belonging. Maybe your client is religious and associates their hair with their faith. Maybe your client’s hair reminds them of their role model. Or maybe their hair reminds them of a style they wore in their childhood. All of these factors go into the value that your client sees in their hair, and the integrity that you want to uphold in your treatment of it.

How would you classify your personal style?
Group identity isn’t always so formal. Some clients may define themselves by a particular style or genre, like “punk,” “preppy,” “goth,” etc. Keep in mind, too, that foreign clients may involve themselves in styles that are totally unknown to you, such as “Mori Girl” in Japan or “funk” in Brazil. Ask them what their favorite hair looks are related to their preferred style. Chances are they’ll have plenty to say on the matter.

Where do you work? Does your workplace have a dress code?
As with anything, there may be certain limitations in your client’s hair world. Maybe they can’t dye their hair some crazy color because they work in a swanky-but-traditional office setting. Maybe they can’t grow their hair long because they work with young kids. Find out what determinations go into your client’s hair decisions! You’ll be in a better place to help them out if you know where they’re coming from.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Lifestyle considerations are important when determining a good haircut or procedure, and they’re important for determining the kind of relationship your client has with their hair. If your client loves her long hair but hates how it gets in the way of her exercise regimen, her overall relationship with her locks may not be so simple. Or, conversely, maybe your client likes her short bob during work hours, but resents it somewhat during her weekly dress-up occasions since her hairstyle options are limited. Your professional advice could be helpful in situations like these.

What is the most important thing when it comes to your hair and overall appearance?
This is perhaps the most important question of all, as it clues you in to your client’s priorities. Since hair can represent personal, group, and even religious identity, as well as lifestyle and fashion preferences, chances are that there are some conflicting goals or interests relating to your client’s hair. Help your client unparse all of that by inviting them to choose the most important considerations for their hair. Some clients may value comfort over anything else, others flexibility, or confidence, or any number of other things. Some clients may value someone else’s opinion of their hair, like their partner’s or their mother’s, etc. Occasionally, a client may value your professional opinion first. Always ask.

Finally, we want to know what hair means to you! Share your hair and hair extension stories in the comments below, or post them to social media! We look forward to reading your responses. :)

 

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How to Respond to an Unhappy Client

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Addressing an unhappy client after a lengthy hair extension appointment is perhaps the worst situation you can be in as a stylist. You’re tired from installing a full head of hair, discouraged that your client is unsatisfied with the work, and most likely uncertain of where to take the conversation from there, especially if it’s your first time dealing with this kind of hiccup. But we’re here to help. Here are the “confrontation” and “de-escalation” tips and take-aways we’ve gathered from many years of working with hair extensions, stylists, and clients. We hope that they’ll prove useful for you!

Read the signs.
Not all clients will express dissatisfaction the same way. Some will come right out and tell you what’s on their mind, but many will convey only a facial expression, or respond with vague questions or statements that traipse around the edges of their feelings. It’s important that you notice these signs, read them for what they are, and articulate them to your client. It’s easy to ignore some signs of unhappiness, whether by accident or to intentionally avoid a confrontation or the possibility of more work, but the reputation of your salon and business is in the balance, so you want to make your clients as happy as possible. That means that, when faced with cryptic messages or gestures, you should straight-out ask your client what they think of their hair (politely), and ask them if there’s anything they’d like changed. Oftentimes the fixes will be simple enough. Maybe the style didn’t suit them and they want a few more layers, or waves, or what have you. Once in a while, you might need to schedule a damage control appointment. You just won’t know until you ask.

Address yourself, first.
Let’s say the misstep is a big one, and your client is seriously upset. You can tell that they’re worked up–but what about you? If you’re feeling a little foggy or angry or off-balance, too, you’re in no position to be engaging with an unhappy customer, since it takes water to put out a fire–not more fire. So step one is to perform an internal check-in. Ask yourself, “How am I feeling right now?” “Why am I feeling this way?” and really spell it out for yourself so you can put things in perspective. If you still feel like you’re unable to balance yourself after your internal check-in, ask another stylist or administrator for support.

Put yourself in your client’s shoes.
Once you’ve sorted out your own feelings about the situation, try to see things from your client’s point of view. Did they just spend a lot of money on this appointment? Do they have a history of low self-esteem, or problems with their body or general appearance? Was this appointment for a special event that’s coming up soon? Or do they feel like they’re going to have to pay for a mistake that you made, or settle for a look that they didn’t want in the first place? Oftentimes the client’s concerns are entirely valid, even if their behavior in reaction to those concerns is disproportionate or needlessly hostile. So invite them to outline their perspective to you, and let them know that you understand where they’re coming from.

Ask questions.
Once you’ve reaffirmed to your client that you recognize and understand their concerns, ask more technical questions about the hair itself. What is it about the product that they don’t like? At what point during the procedure did they observe things starting to go south? Let the client feel like they’re in control here, as this will help to alleviate some of their negative feelings about the appointment.

Provide clarification.
Now that you know what it is your client is unhappy about, you can quickly and briefly share your own side of the story. You made this decision because…you proceeded this way because…you weren’t aware that…etc. Maybe your client will understand some of your decisions, or recognize that you were acting on something that they had miscommunicated. If so, this step can help to absolve you of the full brunt of the blame, and restore your client’s trust in you. If not, you’ll at least have shared your thought process and demonstrated to those around you that you were not careless in your performance.

Propose a remedy.
Next, you should set forth a course of action. How can you and your client work together to achieve the outcome that they want? Is a re-installation in order? A color job? Something else? Create a battle plan with specific, actionable steps to correct the problem to your client’s satisfaction.

Remember your salon policies.
Ideally, damage control services should be offered for free. So long as the client did not drastically miscommunicate their objectives, leave out important information, or simply dislike the result that they had initially envisioned (outcomes that can be avoided with a thorough consultation session), the error in these situations must be attributed to the stylist. In general, the client only has so much control over the installation procedure, so unwanted results are not really their fault. That being said, you should consult with your salon’s policies before arranging free damage control services. If additional hair is necessary, it’s possible that the client would be expected to cover a portion of it, even if the installation of said hair is free. In these cases, consider paying for the replacement hair yourself. Even if you lose money at the end of this encounter, you’ll have established professional accountability, which is vital for maintaining a respectable salon and good client relations.

Act accordingly.
This is absolutely vital: if you say you’re going to do something to counteract a problem, actually do it. Follow your battle plan to a T–and, just to be safe, ask your client how they feel throughout the process. Because the only thing worse than a bad hair extension appointment is a bad follow-up hair extension appointment.

What are your tips for addressing an unhappy client? Do you have any memorable experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Decoding Hair Extension Rules

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Babe’s hair extension rules exist for a reason. They help to ensure best practices, keep hair extensions in tip-top shape, and preserve the client’s hair health throughout the process. They make your job as a stylist easier by giving you clear performance guidelines and eliminating guesswork! But, as with many rules, there are exceptions worth noting. Here are 3 of Babe’s most fundamental rules and their exceptions–decoded.

Don’t install on hair shorter than the occipital. This is the golden consultation rule. If your client’s hair is shorter than the occipital bone (jaw-length or shorter), you’re not supposed to install extensions on them with the intention of adding length. This rule is designed to prevent bad hair extension jobs, as it’s notoriously difficult to blend hair extensions into super-short hair. That being said, there are some things to keep in mind:

- You’re still clear to install hair extensions for the purpose of adding volume. Such extensions will not need to be disguised into the hair, as they will not protrude beyond the client’s base hair length. In these cases, the client’s hair need only be long enough to hide the attachments of the hair extensions.

- You can still install hair extensions for length, but the target length should be no more than twice the length of the client’s own hair. The whole “don’t install hair extensions on hair shorter than the occipital” rule applies mainly to clients looking to go from short hair to long hair–a transition that can’t really be disguised, and so shouldn’t be undertaken at all. If the client is only looking to add a few inches of length, though, blending that work would be totally feasible. So, to rephrase the original rule, stay within twice the length of the client’s own hair. If your client has a short bob just barely grazing her jawline, don’t install extensions that extend below her shoulders.

Stay within two shades of the original color. We consistently recommend that you try to match your client’s hair color to one of our pre-colored hair extension shades, but we acknowledge that that’s not always possible. Hair comes in a wide range of colors, and some clients’ hair will inevitably fall in-between our existing shades. So we implemented a few coloring rules for stylists: use demi- or semi- permanent dye, stay within two shades of the original color, and never lift (or lighten). These rules serve to preserve hair extension quality in the face of chemical coloring treatments, as Babe extensions have already been color-treated. While we maintain that demi- and semi- permanent dye is preferable, and that hair should absolutely not be lightened, we have to address the two-shade rule, as there is one commonly-used practice that goes against it:

- Platinum-colored extensions–our lightest available hair extension shades–may reasonably be colored to any level and tone that the stylist and client desire. These extensions don’t require a lot of dye to achieve the end result, as they’re more porous than our other extension colors and contain the least amount of pigment. We actually advise stylists undertaking more experimental hair coloring jobs–say pastel colors, ombre, emerald tones, etc.–to work with our #60, #600, or #1001 shades, as they produce the most accurate and saturated colors.

Don’t reuse hair more than 3 times. Babe hair extensions experience some wear-and-tear over time, especially at the tips (bond area) and ends. Therefore, we advise that stylists reuse the hair no more than 3 times, pegging the total lifespan of our professional hair at roughly 4-6 months. This rule serves to prevent negative hair extension experiences, as old extension tips are more likely to slip from the client’s hair, and old extension ends are more likely to mat and break. But, as you might expect, this rule could do with some additional decoding:

- The specificity of “3 times” is actually just an estimate based off of our experience working with hair extensions. What’s more important is the quality of the hair. Though rare, it is possible that extensions are in good enough shape to be reused beyond 3 times, particularly when the client is very vigilant about hair extension care. The stylist should ultimately use their professional discretion in these cases.

- When we say “reuse” here, what we really mean is “re-install.” Hair extensions should, in general, not be installed a 4th time, but they can absolutely be reused in other ways. If your client would like to keep the old extensions (seeing as they purchased them), old hair extensions can be remade into hair accessories like braid headbands, bun fillers, and the like. If they choose to dispose of the old extensions, keep them on hand in your salon as test strands for coloring projects, or as a visual aid for educational purposes. The options go on and on.

Have you ever exploited the exception to a hair extension rule? What did you notice? Share your experiences and questions in the comments below!

 

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